NORTH ADAMS -- Berkshire Health Systems and Berkshire Medical Center are taking steps to provide the administrative services to keep Northern Berkshire OB-GYN and Northern Berkshire Family Practice in business in North County.
Berkshire Health Systems spokesman Mike Leary said Thursday that this move will ensure the continuity of some health care services for patients and medical providers affected by the closing of Northern Berkshire Healthcare, which operates North Adams Regional Hospital, on Friday.
As a result, patients of these two practices won't have to find other physicians on Friday, according to Leary.
Northern Berkshire OB-GYN and Northern Berkshire Family Medicine, affiliates of Northern Berkshire Healthcare, are two of three physicians practices that had been slated to close on Friday, along with the hospital and the Northern Berkshire Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of Northern Berkshire. Northern Berkshire Family Medicine is a group of primary care doctors.
North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright commented Thursday on the latest development involving Berkshire Health Systems.
"That is good news, certainly good news for the patients and those entities," Alcombright.
Any services that can be maintained in North Adams are critical, Alcombright said, "anything that we can keep here.
"I walked by the OB-GYN this morning and saw two young women come out who were noticeably pregnant," Alcombright said. "You just think to yourself, 'Where do they go?'"
"Northern Berkshire patients, families and practitioners are already calling and asking, ‘What should I do?' And we want to respond as quickly and clearly as we can," said Diane Kelly, chief operating officer at BMC.
A third physicians group affiliated with North Adams Regional, Northern Berkshire General Surgery, was not announced as not part of this move.
In a Berkshire Health Systems statement, the largest medical provider in the county will provide the administrative support the two practices need to keep providing medical services. In addition, Berkshire Health Systems will help Northern Berkshire OB-GYN and Northern Berkshire Family Medicine relocate to new offices. The offices in which they are currently are owned by Northern Berkshire Healthcare.
Also, Berkshire Medical Center will set up a laboratory drawing station at the physician-owned office building on the North Adams Regional Hospital campus.
In related news, BHS is working with the Attorney General's office and the New England Health Information agency to arrange for management of electronic medical records housed at North Adams Regional Hospital.
BMC has set up an around-the-clock phone line for Northern Berkshire patients and health care providers to answer questions about scheduling and/or access to health care services. Callers may use the toll-free number, 855-262-5465, day or night.